John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Megalomaniabook

During one series of talks with Microsoft, Facebook executives told their Microsoft peers they couldn’t do an 8 a.m. conference call because the company’s 22-year-old founder and chief executive, Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, wouldn’t be awake, says a person familiar with the talks. Microsoft executives were incredulous.”

“Facebook, Riding a Web Trend, Flirts With a Big-Money Deal,” The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 21, 2006

zuckerberg-onion.jpgGuess Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not sleeping quite as late as he once did. Following a story BoomTown’s Kara Swisher first reported two weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is in talks to take a 5% stake in the social-networking phenom for $300 million to $500 million. An investment of that size, were it to be made, would value Facebook at as much as $10 billion–in line with the multibillion valuation Swisher quoted one source mentioning in her original post. (Apparently, there’s a lot of money in Virtual Gifts–a lot of money.)

Quite the interesting turn of events, since in 2006 Microsoft reportedly passed on acquiring Facebook, amused that the company had valued itself at $2 billion. More so, because Facebook– which still hasn’t shown anyone a glimpse of its awesome advertising platform–may hold out for an even higher valuation–as much as $15 billion. Which is ludicrous for an unproven company that gets half its annual revenue from a sweetheart deal with Microsoft.

“While the minions at Facebook under its young leader are laboring mightily to come up with new ways to make revenues and its strong growth is laudable and I loved the splashy widgetmania Facebook unleashed, let us try not to be too jaded when we say we have seen this story of spiky growth followed by less than spiky growth before,” Swisher writes. “One need only to consider the bloom that has fallen off the MySpace rose to realize this, but the list of fast-growing and quickly wilting tech phenoms is long. PointCast! GeoCities! Netscape! AOL! Yahoo! … Microsoft has to be seriously desperate to be considering this much of an investment for so little, even with its bags of cash to spend. While I like big, bold and even addled moves as much as the next person, this one is a doozy.”


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald